20 Best Avant Albums of 2017

The year's best in ambient, noise, out-jazz, experimental electronic and more

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Nico Niquo, 'In a Silent Way'

14. Nico Niquo, 'In a Silent Way'

Prolific New York/Ohio cassette label Orange Milk is the absolute vanguard of turning the uncanny valley into a halfpipe, a global network of Lawnmower Men and Tank Girls connecting the future-shocked worlds of vaporwave, footwork, hypnogogic pop and New Age. This ambient album from Melbourne, Australia's Nico Niquo slowly cruises through the hyper-real, creating a stunning gleam like a soundtrack for a vacation with a flying toaster screensaver. "There are only a handful of 'instruments' on the album – some clarinet, saxophone and mallet percussion that friends and I recorded," he told Rolling Stone. "Apart from that, everything else is kind of like a cheap, plastic impression of an instrument or something divorced from reality altogether."

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